Los Angeles (AFP) – The music world is gathering in Los Angeles to honor some of its finest acts on Saturday, inducting the latest class of luminaries including Dolly Parton and Eminem into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The country queen and rap agitator are joined by pop futurists Eurythmics, smooth rocker Lionel Richie, new wave Brits Duran Duran, confessional lyricist Carly Simon and enduring rock duo Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo in entering the music pantheon.
The Cleveland-based Hall of Fame — which surveyed more than 1,000 musicians, historians and industry members to choose the entrants — will honor the seven acts in a star-studded gala at Los Angeles’s Microsoft Theater.
More supergroup concert than ceremony, the evening will see music legends honor their peers with performances of their time-tested hits — the lineup is usually kept under wraps until showtime.
But Rock Hall Chairman John Sykes spilled some of the guest appearances in an interview this week with Forbes, telling the outlet that attendees will including Olivia Rodrigo and Alanis Morissette while Bruce Springsteen and Sheryl Crow are set to figure among those introducing the honorees.
‘Sound of young America’
Sykes emphasized the institution’s fluid definition of “rock” that is more about spirit than genre.
Over the years a number of rappers, pop, R&B and country stars have been brought into the hall’s fold.
“Rock and roll, like music culture itself, never stays in one place. It’s an ever-evolving sound to reflect culture,” Sykes said.
“So you look at these different artists that you’re going to see inducted this year — they’re different genders, they’re different colors, they’re different sounds but they have one thing in common, they created the sound of young America.”
This year’s inclusion of Parton, 76, prompted a characteristically humble response from the beloved icon, who initially requested her name be taken out of the running, saying that she was far from a rock star.
But voting had already begun, and the organization explained to Parton, whose prolific body of work includes the classics “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You,” that her body of work was worthy.
“When she understood what the true meaning of rock and roll is, then she embraced it and is going to not only attend the ceremony but she’s making a rock and roll album and is going to debut a song, specifically from that record, at the ceremony,” Sykes revealed.
The 2022 group of hall of famers is among the organization’s most eclectic in years.
Detroit rapper Eminem burst onto the world stage in the late 1990s with darkly comical hits off his major label debut “The Slim Shady LP” including “My Name Is.”
“The Marshall Mathers LP” cemented his superstar status, becoming one of the best-selling albums of all time and setting up the rapper as one of pop’s master provocateurs with a blistering flow.
He joins fellow rappers including Jay-Z, Tupac Shakur, Ice Cube and Grandmaster Flash along with his loyal producer and mentor Dr Dre in the hall.
Eminem gained the recognition in his first year of eligibility: acts can be inducted 25 years after their first commercial music release.
Lionel Richie, the crooner behind enduring love songs “All Night Long” and “Hello,” earned the distinction after already scoring the majority of music’s top honors.
The 73-year-old artist has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame as well as designated a Kennedy Center Honoree and a winner of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
Eurythmics — the duo comprised of Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart — earlier this year also entered the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
The synthpop innovators behind “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” will now take their place among rock’s greatest.
Duran Duran is set to reunite with their former guitarists Andy Taylor and Warren Cuccurullo.
Simon, the singer-songwriter behind the 1970s classic “You’re So Vain,” will finally be inducted following almost two decades of eligibility.
And power couple Benatar and Giraldo, who dominated the 1980s with hits like “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” will also finally get rock hall recognition for their vast output.
Judas Priest along with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis will also receive awards for musical excellence, while Harry Belafonte and Elizabeth Cotten will be recognized for early influence prizes.
The gala will begin at 7:00 pm (0200 GMT Sunday), and will be broadcast on November 19 on HBO.
© 2022 AFP